• WARNING: Tube/Valve amplifiers use potentially LETHAL HIGH VOLTAGES.
    Building, troubleshooting and testing of these amplifiers should only be
    performed by someone who is thoroughly familiar with
    the safety precautions around high voltages.

New P-P output topology? the Elliptron

For those who have been wanting to try a distributed loading design using partial cathode follower action, but couldn't find a transformer available or affordable: the Elliptron! Just use a commonly available Ultra-linear configured transformer but wired up like a Circlotron. Except! - connect the output tube cathodes to the 40% taps. The primary center tap gets grounded like in the Circlotron topology and the plates still connect to the usual primary endpoints through separate floating power supplies. (Cathodes for a given tube connect to the 40% tap on the OPPOSITE side to its plate/pwr. connection) For a typical 40% tapped transformer, the result becomes 28.5% cathode follower action which is much easier to drive. ( .4/(1+.4) ) Suggest using two cheap dual bobbin isolation transformers with 117x2 secondaries in series for plate supplies to minimize common mode capacitance to ground. The Hammond 1650T output transformer with its low 1900 Ohm CT primary and UL taps is a good fit for this idea. Can make as a Modified UltraLinear (per N. Crowhurst) (see Glass Audio 3/96 page 20 ) if desired by just using a fixed screen voltage to ground.
 
verbal schematic

For one tube, the connections are as follows: Cathode connects to 40% tap (Left side primary say), Plate connects to positive terminal of its own floating power supply. Negative terminal of floating supply connects to end of primary (but on Right side of primary center tap).

Second tube: (just mirror image but I'll spell it out) Cathode connects to 40% tap (Right side primary), Plate connects to positive terminal of it own (2nd) floating power supply. Negative terminal of 2nd floating supply connects to other end of primary (on Left side of primary center tap).

Center tap of primary is connected to ground reference. Output tube grids are driven with respect to ground reference.

If you have a schematic for a Circlotron available, just move the tube cathodes inward to the 40% taps. Works the same way as Circlotron but has 28.5% cathode follower action instead of usual 50% cathode follower action.

Note: Using this connection of course alters the turns ratio and hence impedace rating from the usual transformer specification. As an example: the Hammond 1650T xfmer has a specified rating of 1900 Ohm plate to plate (ie. across the entire primary end to end) With Elliptron connection this becomes .7 of total primary turns from end to opposite 40% tap, so impedance seen by one tube is .7x.7x1900= 931 Ohms. This would be equivalent to a 3724 Ohm Plate-Plate rated transformer in usual center tapped push pull output stage. (4x impedance with 2x turns)
 
precision schematic

********************************U.L. output transformer
************I---------- +PWR- ------------------>||***connected
************I************************>||******as
************I************************>||****Elliptron
***********plate**********************>||***output
*************************************>||
******o-------grid******************40% >||
**********************I---------------------->||<------o
**********cathode*****I**************>||<*****xfmr.
************I*********I*******C.T.------>||<*****out
************I*********I**********o gnd***>||<------o
************I-------------------------------------->||
**********************I********40%**>||
**********************I**************>||
Note: screen*********cathode***********>||
*******grids**************************>||
*******not******o--------grid************>||
******shown************************I-->||
*********************plate**********I
***********************I----- +PWR- ---I
 
Hello Don,

your precision schematic made me lost in the smoke again :) but your verbal schematic was very helpful and totally clear. I took a parer and drew it from your words. Thanxalot!

I got lost where to connect the pwer supply, AFA circlotron is concerned I am a total newbie.

What is the benefit of this circuit compared to an orthodox PP output stage? I get the hunch it could yield a lower output Z without having to apply negative loop feedback.
 
Hi Bernard,
Sorry about the "precision" schematic. It all moved around after posting, now it's aMAZEing! Regarding the Elliptron output, its main advantage, as you surmised, is its low output impedance due to partial cathode follower output. It also should be low distortion due to the local feedback effect. The McIntosh unity gain output and Circlotron are similar in this respect, but difficult to drive because of their 50% cathode follower action (large voltage swing). The 28.5 % cath. fol. action in the Elliptron requires significantly less drive voltage, so is easier to design the driver stage. May still want to use bootstrapped driver plate voltages, but not absolutely necessary as with McIntosh and Circ. The main disadvantage, of course, is the need for TWO FLOATING power supplies in the Elliptron (and also the Circ.). These supplies swing around at the audio output levels, so is critical to provide low common mode capacitance to ground in the power transformer(s). Also need low common mode capacitance between the two power supplies since they swing in opposite phase. (important consideration if both High Voltage windings are on the same transformer.) Easiest way to get two highly isolated HV supplies is to use two DUAL BOBBIN (line volt. primary(s) and secondary(s) are on separate bobbins) isolation transformers (usually have two 120V primaries and two 120V secondaries). These are commonly available and inexpensive (Stancor, Hammond, Magnetek Triad, ....)

The partial feedback distributed loading topologies have always been rated among the best, but are difficult to find transformers for. Plitron offers some in their Specialist Transformer section, but are pricey. The beauty of the Elliptron scheme is that cheap and available Ultralinear transformers can be used. Also, the Circ. and Elliptron use low impedance primary transformers since each tube uses more than half the primary winding. These generally have better frequency response than high impedance transformers.

Some good information on distributed loading can be found at these sites:
http://homepages.enterprise.net/icedragon/new/distribu.htm
and several articles on McIntosh and Circlotron:
www.tubecad.com
Don
 
A few, no a lot, more thoughts.
The question naturally comes up in Circlotron (and Elliptron) circuits as to where to get plate voltages for the input tube stages without adding a third power supply. Usually this is done by connecting two high value resistors to the output tube plates and using the common point between for B+ (low current available of course, make sure to bypass to ground with a good cap. or will feed back output signal to input stages)

The driver tubes which generate the large drive signals to the output tube grids usually use bootstrapping plate resistors from the opposite (than the one driven) output tube plate. (cross coupled) This way they have a high voltage available when needed at signal peaks. This technique makes the bootstrap plate resistors look like higher value resistors if the output plate voltage variation on the resistor is equal too (or a little less than) the driver tube plate voltage variation. (If exactly equal variation on both ends, the driver plate resistor draws constant current just like a constant current source!) This technique works well in the circlotron and McIntosh since output plates and cathodes have the same amount of variation on them with 50% cathode follower action. With the Elliptron however, the lower 28% cathode follower action will cause the plate bootstrap to get too much voltage variation from the output plate, so a little resistive divider (to some fixed voltage, maybe to the screen supply) attenuation is in order or one will end up with positive feedback thru the bootstraps causing it to oscillate. Best to look at some existing McIntosh schematics for ideas on using bootstrapping. Unfortunately, not much published on Unity gain/bootstrapping technology, everyone is afraid to touch it in current publications. Too complex. Some possible sources are in the original publications: Audio Engineering, Dec 1949 pg 9 Mcintosh/Gow and Audio, Nov 1954 Tomcik and Wiggens (Circlotron) I haven't looked at these yet, wish someone would put them on the Web or re-publish. (They are not even in the Audio Anthology series) McIntosh patent is available on the Web though: #2477074 (1949) www.uspto.gov

Since bootstrapping is a little tricky to get right without making a power oscillator, I would recommend just using separate additional power supplies for a first go at this type of design. One can economize later. One will need some driver tubes with good voltage rating for this design if more than say 60 watts output is planned. Some cheap NOS (and decent) tubes are 6CM7, 6CS7, 6FJ7, 6EA7, 6FM7 (500V or more rated).

As for screen voltage for the output tubes, several approaches are possible. The McIntosh series used bootstrapping from cross coupled output plates for this too! They lived dangerously and used the full output plate voltages for screen voltages. I would suggest reducing the bootstrap voltages with zeners (paralleled by a cap.) referenced to the respective cathodes. Alternatively, one could use a fixed screen voltage power supply for both output tubes (referenced to ground) as used in Modified Ultralinear stages described in the N. Crowhurst article. This same supply could then be used for plate voltages for the input stages too. Modified Ultralinear is highly regarded sound wise and would help to soften clipping in an output stage using local feedback such as Elliptron, Circ., & McIntosh. Time to sign off!
 
KISS: 3 independent power supplies.

Hello Don,



the bootstrap technique used for providing enough supply voltage fot the driver stage is tricky, prone to oscillation and interstage crosstalk.
Hurts the KISS maxime,IMO.


I had the valuable opportunity to listen to a normal PP amp before and after PS upgrade which was providing regulated independent PSs for every stage. The step forward to more clarity, open-ness, detail resolution and relaxed-ness was HUGE. I don't think it was due to the fact th PS were regulated, it was the interstage crosstalk barrier of the independent PSs. Several preamp upgrades in my environment seem to indicate the same.



I admit several PSs are costly, but i do believe that is is easier tounderstand, track and nail down what (mess) happens in the amp if there is no IS crosstalk via the power supply. Electrically as sonically it follows the KISS principle. In my book, there is just one more PS added and i may have to use one or two different PS trannies. Not much added complexity compared to the benefits :)



AFA the screen grids are concerned. why not just pull them to the own plate via 100Ohm? Triode operation! It always is the first watt of an amp that counts most!
 
Hi Bernhard,

You are of course on the best track to use separate power supplies, I agree. And bootstrapping is shaky business, but is one of those mountains I would like to climb just once to say I have been there! Fortunately, the lower 28% cathode feedback (compared to Circ. and McIntosh) allows one to go either way, so this is an experimenters paradise.

The issue that arises in bootstrapping (besides stability if not done right!) is whether the increased plate load impedance possible for the driver tubes is outweighed by the small positive feedback of some output distortion components. I believe I read in some N. Crowhurst article that bootstrapping did actually win out distortion-wise (but no info was given on distribution of harmonics generated, something I will want to measure) over using the USUAL resistive plate loads from a fixed supply. But, a set of current source loads for the driver tubes with a separate power supply was BETTER YET. An interesting approach might be to use the bootstrap voltages for power supplies to operate some mosfet plate current sources (triode driver tubes). Especially since the bootstrap voltages available (in the Elliptron case) are too big to begin with. But these complexities should be reserved for later tweaks, after building a working amp the simplest way first.

Triode outputs of course should be fine, but will generally produce less output power per available plate dissipation and power input, as in any design. The original thinking behind distributed loading designs, I believe, was that cathode feedback would be a great way to get the benefit of local feedback, inherent in triodes, but by using more efficient pentodes. Cathode feedback has the advantage of local feedback giving low output impedance (potentially much lower than triodes even) and low distortion without lowering the power handling capability of the pentode, unlike Ultra-linear mode. To get the most benefit from cathode feedback, one would want to use a high Gm (transconductance) tube. This, I realize, is in direct conflict with the usual thinking for low distortion gain with low Gm triodes. But one should keep in mind here that the output tube is providing little voltage gain (about 3 in the Elliptron case). The higher its Gm, the less error in output voltage the tube will tolerate in cathode follower mode, due to the local feedback effect.

The one consideration for Ultra-linearizing the output tube screens with distributed output topologies would be to soften the clipping effects when driven to the rails. By using a fixed screen voltage supply one automatically gets so called Modified Ultra-linear mode since the cathode follower voltage swing on the cathodes effectiviely subtracts from the fixed screen voltage. The 28% cathode follower action here (versus usual 40% in U-L or 50% in Circ. or McIntosh) is helpful when using pentodes with screen voltages less than the plate voltage since the amount of ultra-linear effect is really based on the percentage variation of the screen to cathode voltage. So will be greater than 28% U-L with lower screen voltages.

The driver tubes are the critical voltage gain tubes in Circ., Elliptron, and McIntosh designs. (I should qualify this to "voltage gain driver" tubes since some designs follow these with a cathode follower to actually drive the output grids.) This is where I would be selective in choosing a quality sounding triode. For the unlimited budget one might even consider a set of 300Bs or competitive tubes. (more practical tubes like 7119 or 5687 etc. don't have the plate voltage ratings needed unless for a low power amp.) I have been doing a little research on constant Mu triodes and many NOS triode vertical amp. (TV) tubes are fairly decent and quite cheap and plentiful. Most have robust plate voltage ratings too. Their power ratings are sufficiently high (with low plate resistance) so that no cathode follower grid driver stage should be necessary. For the first shot at designing this topology I will be keeping to cheap components.

Regards,
Don
 
Hello Don,





may i tell you about my unease, reading your post? Technical unease, of course.


1st,


this is not intended as downtalk, i am deeply impressed how deep you are into that compley topology and i have to admit, i do not yet know whare i got lost and where i still keep track of you thoughts. So don't take my remarks personal and DON'T get discouraged, ok?





Reading your descripition, i somehow get the feeling you are more interested in having your amp crossing a technical hurdle than: how does this amp contribute to bringing you nearer to your music. And even more important: how to influence, manipulate the amp to approach more to your personal sonic heaven.





Crossing the hurdle (in a technical way) can be disgress to Selbstzweck (a German word, my dictionaire translates this as "end in itself" but misses the target, IMO, i would translate it as "an action or concept targeting to justify its own existence/completion and besides that, leading to nothing").





IF you are so deep in your amp concept that you do not loose track of which change triggers which sonic consequence and technical side effects having sonic consequences themselves, then the amp is simple for you.





Simple amps have the advantage that a given change has noticable sonic consequences and causes for this can be easily understood.


So many simple amps sound just wonderful be3cause the amp designer had an easy job in getting the amp sonically right. No matter whether the amp has the targeted output Z or THD.





Primary target for an amp IMO still is:


* terrific sonics, it has to SING!


* bench results ensuring that i do not compare apples and and oranges.





Originally posted by smoking-amp


You are of course on the best track to use separate power supplies, I agree. And bootstrapping is shaky business, but is one of those mountains I would like to climb just once to say I have been there!






see what i mean?





Fortunately, the lower 28% cathode feedback (compared to Circ. and McIntosh) allows one to go either way, so this is an experimenters paradise.






Always good to have options :)





The issue that arises in bootstrapping (besides stability if not done right!) is whether the increased plate load impedance possible for the driver tubes is outweighed by the small positive feedback of some output distortion components. I believe I read in some N. Crowhurst article that bootstrapping did actually win out distortion-wise (but no info was given on distribution of harmonics generated, something I will want to measure) over using the USUAL resistive plate loads from a fixed supply.






Thats interesting. THe DIY gang i am proud to be member of tends to prefer inductive loads whereever possible and why inductors sound better is TMK not yet fully understood. Maybe this could be a hint!


With your topology, you in fact have inductive loads both in the cathode and anode. Combined with the fact the cathode load induces local neg.feedback this shoud lead to reduced distortion.





But, a set of current source loads for the driver tubes with a separate power supply was BETTER YET. An interesting approach might be to use the bootstrap voltages for power supplies to operate some mosfet plate current sources (triode driver tubes). Especially since the bootstrap voltages available (in the Elliptron case) are too big to begin with. But these complexities should be reserved for later tweaks, after building a working amp the simplest way first.






Agreed. Simplest way first.


BTW, a properly designed CCS has an almost infinite Z to the PS thus yielding superior PSRR. Maybe as good as a well-balanced differential stage, maybe even better. And the tube runs with an infinite plate load, having gain=µ which leads to very low distortion. A plate choke however may sound better and may also measure better on the bench.


Sonically, a question of taste, yes, and of money, good plate chokes rip your wallet :)





Triode outputs of course should be fine, but will generally produce less output power per available plate dissipation and power input, as in any design. The original thinking behind distributed loading designs, I believe, was that cathode feedback would be a great way to get the benefit of local feedback, inherent in triodes, but by using more efficient pentodes. Cathode feedback has the advantage of local feedback giving low output impedance (potentially much lower than triodes even) and low distortion without lowering the power handling capability of the pentode, unlike Ultra-linear mode.






Sounds promising. But how does it sound? I wait on yor results :)





To get the most benefit from cathode feedback, one would want to use a high Gm (transconductance) tube. This, I realize, is in direct conflict with the usual thinking for low distortion gain with low Gm triodes. But one should keep in mind here that the output tube is providing little voltage gain (about 3 in the Elliptron case). The higher its Gm, the less error in output voltage the tube will tolerate in cathode follower mode, due to the local feedback effect.






For a cathode follower indeed a high Gm tube is preferable.


Sonds logical to me, the CF stage has unity gain, how then shall it amplify distortion? Agreeing with your conclusions.





... The driver tubes are the critical voltage gain tubes in Circ., Elliptron, and McIntosh designs. (I should qualify this to "voltage gain driver" tubes since some designs follow these with a cathode follower to actually drive the output grids.) This is where I would be selective in choosing a quality sounding triode. For the unlimited budget one might even consider a set of 300Bs or competitive tubes. (more practical tubes like 7119 or 5687






if you hunt the Bendix 6900, you'll have a 5687 capable of 600 V at the plate .... and another hole in your wallet :)


The 6900 sonically are reputed to outperform even the fanciest 6SN7


.... and if worn out you still can use them as bullets :)





But 300B? I would sell them and buy some serious tubes for the money. Can you live with such small µ? Consider you have to handle floating filament supply for each driver tube then, could add to complexity.


Dunno what driving power you need but for a driver the 71A and the #45 (depending on your sonic preferences) are very recommended small power DHTs and still affordable. They vastly outperform any 300B concerning transparency, detail resolution, speed. Some folks on the SET asylum consider the 71A to be the best small power DHT.


If you want to go cheapochaepo, you could choose a triode-wired #46, should not exceed $10 apiece and is sonic gold.





Jeremy, if you are reading this, your comments please.





...etc. don't have the plate voltage ratings needed unless for a low power amp.) I have been doing a little research on constant Mu triodes and many NOS triode vertical amp. (TV) tubes are fairly decent and quite cheap and plentiful. Most have robust plate voltage ratings too. Their power ratings are sufficiently high (with low plate resistance) so that no cathode follower grid driver stage should be necessary. For the first shot at designing this topology I will be keeping to cheap components.






Wise. BTW, it pays to search the TV tube field. Tube rectifiers are a widely discussed sound voodoo issue (which recitfier tube sounds best in amp XYZ, yapyap..). Iron man Thomas Mayer started to use TV damper diodes instead of fancy famous $$$ tube rectifiers. Never heard a better system :) .


He also built a 2 tube integrated amp i.e. 2 tubes from MC phono cartridge to loudspeaker, okok, with the help of some transformers.


Sounded fine. He used ultra-high Gm TV "beam triodes" with µ=115 for that and only pedants complain about the tube's plate requiring 1200V to get alive.
 
Hi Bernhard,

so, you tricked me into signing up at this place by calling
my name...

Thanks for the compliments about my system...

I really don't understand, why the use of TV dampers hasn't
spread more widely in the DIY crowd. They are plentiful, dirt cheap
and in my opinion they outperform the ususal top $ suspects.

You mentioned that 2 tube amp of mine. Actually the tube has
a gm of 65.000 and a mu of 300. It's a pulse regulator for
color TV applications. The number is 6HS5, 6HV5, 6JD5.

That two stage amp is dismantled, because I needed the
OPTs. I'll try this tube again. A friend of mine is fascinated by
it and I will build a phonostage for him using this tube.

Actually the main reason why I was tempted to reply to this
post was not because you mentioned my name. But because of
some remarks you made to Don's post. Please don't get it wrong.
This might sound a bit provocative, but it's not meant in a mean
way. I just want to express my opinion.

What's wrong with Don trying to cross a technical hurdle ? I've
seen it too often when someone enthusiasticly talks about a
certain technical issue, someone else comes along and thinks
he has to remind him that it's only the music that counts.

I guess all of us are music lovers and music is important to us.
But why can't someone also just build something just for the
purpose of building it ?

I hereby publicly admit that I sometimes build something just
to try a technical concept. I can understand Don. For example
I built an all DHT phonostage, just to take that hurdle. When it
was done and worked it was like climbing a mountain and
reaching the summit. I had a wider view.

In the end a lot of those attempts to take technical hurdles
actually brought me closer to the music.

For me the creative process of envisioning a new amp, finding
the parts and building it, is just as much pleasure as listening
to music. Yes music is important to me, but it's not the only
thing that counts.

Ciao ... Thomas
 
Hello Thomas











welcome on this fine place! glad you are here!











Originally posted by Vinylsavor





so, you tricked me into signing up at this place by calling






my name...






... not my intention, after our last talk, but very happy about the accidental result :)











Wish this would work on Manfred, too, the guy is immune to flattering :) and one probably had to menace him with a blunted and already bloody knife (or worse things) to get him posting :)





Thanks for the compliments about my system...






honours to those who deserve it





I really don't understand, why the use of TV dampers hasn't






spread more widely in the DIY crowd. They are plentiful, dirt cheap






and in my opinion they outperform the ususal top $ suspects.












a few years back, i received a lesson about sonic influence of rectifiers in form of rectifier trading in a SET circuit. Different rectifiers led to different sound. $$$ DH rectifiers, Telefubnken, Valvo, Mullard, etc..





Probably each of us has mental blocks and so have i. I simply was not willing to pay for those suckers, easily calling an RE604's price. Moreover as I heard fantastic sounding tube amps with SS recitfiers in their PS. I was giving not the fact room in my mind that tube rectifiers work better in tube amps because of that. But then i heard your amps with heaps of dirt-cheap vacuum diodes in the PS and changed my mind. Manfred's PP #46 amp also uses them and it sounded better than V.Kühns fancy AudioNote-grade KR300B SET amp at the Fertin speaker demo.











You mentioned that 2 tube amp of mine. Actually the tube has






a gm of 65.000 and a mu of 300. It's a pulse regulator for






color TV applications. The number is 6HS5, 6HV5, 6JD5.













That two stage amp is dismantled, because I needed the






OPTs. I'll try this tube again. A friend of mine is fascinated by






it and I will build a phonostage for him using this tube.












this i want to listen to!
µ=300, i stand corrected, probably my mind simpy refused to accept this value :)









Actually the main reason why I was tempted to reply to this






post was not because you mentioned my name. But because of






some remarks you made to Don's post. Please don't get it wrong.






This might sound a bit provocative, but it's not meant in a mean






way. I just want to express my opinion.













What's wrong with Don trying to cross a technical hurdle ? I've






seen it too often when someone enthusiasticly talks about a






certain technical issue, someone else comes along and thinks






he has to remind him that it's only the music that counts.













I guess all of us are music lovers and music is important to us.






But why can't someone also just build something just for the






purpose of building it ?












I see your point, Thomas, and it really was not my intention to downtalk enthuisiasm. I guess i hinted it in former posts of this thread and tried to be very careful to express it. And, i picked up the ball later and tried to throw in my 2 cents by suggesting good sounding tubes. To make it up :)











Don probably is way deeper into advanced PP circuitry than me.











Anyway, the source of my complaints is circuit complexity (you also could call this sub-circuit interaction) and the designer's ability to mentally penetrate it. 2 years ago, i tried to help a guy with refurbishing his McIntosh and getting a better sound from it. He got lost in understanding the circuitry and i have to admit, so di i. I am quite good in reading and understainding PP circuitry meanwhile, but this was too complex for me. Ok, i thought, then let's ask the real gurus, and so i did. One, who can tell from the schematic how an amp will sound, refused to deal with such a complex circuit and the other one (Peter H., he has no real access to circuit-sonics relation anyway) phoned me back 4 hours later to tell me he is not shure whether the circuit will run stable but he admitted "not having looked into the last dark corners of the structure".











Peter is no fool, he managed to design a commercially marketable SET 845 amp with nothing but 6SN7 driving the output tube to a bandwidth of 40kHz. to come back to the topic, as he is not into audio-wise listening, he too took a techical challenge. At this moment he was not believing into adding additional expensive signal transformers and fancy tubes ("they just add distortion") and as a customer ordered this design to have a new product, cost was an issue. No listening was done during the development of this amp, atleast not by Peter. Miraculously, the amp turned out to be sonic gold.



But, to come back to topic, he would have taken the challenge anyway just to prove an 845 can be driven by small signal tubes like the 6SN7 and without help of "a power amp as driver stage".











I hereby publicly admit that I sometimes build something just






to try a technical concept. I can understand Don. For example






I built an all DHT phonostage, just to take that hurdle. When it






was done and worked it was like climbing a mountain and






reaching the summit. I had a wider view.












Thomas, looking from this point, you are right. Gettinig a wider view. So, Don, do you hear me, you do not let me discourage you to build your amp! :)











I have to be spoken guilty myself concerning my complaints: I have a preamp design in work using DC coupling over three stages, all current suckers, and PS voltages are towering. But: I finally got rid even of the power supply caps, no caps anymore except for the speaker XO. The design looks very simple to me, others (including Manfred :) ) complain about it's complexity. And remind me i have not built much in the last few years and nothing like that. And will step into many traps. And so on.











Thomas, one thing, all your circuit improvement you showed me were aiming at getting a simpler circuitry and avoiding components deterioating the sound in your opinion, at incredible cost if necessary.





As it is with my preamp design , in your DHT phono preamp a lot of traps are to be avoided and sometimes with huge effort, but the circuitry itself is simple, complies with the KISS rule. The traps can be tracked, found and neutralized, clear cause-effect structures. This maybe is a different sort of challenge compared to tame a McIntosh-like circuitry which is a complex web of nodes and which node is a cause and which an effect is not an easy task ton make apparent.







In the end a lot of those attempts to take technical hurdles






actually brought me closer to the music.













For me the creative process of envisioning a new amp, finding






the parts and building it, is just as much pleasure as listening






to music. Yes music is important to me, but it's not the only






thing that counts.












Agreed. So it is with me. Envisioning a new amp, yes, that word fits :)






But i have to say that music and it's spirit plays a major role for me and i probably never would build a device just to find out how good it works, i have too many fronts to fight at and i try to do it right the 1st time and then to focus on another front. As far as audio gear is concerned.
 

J Epstein

Member
2002-02-08 7:24 pm
I think it is important to see oneself as an experimenter, with those open horizons you mentioned, vinylsavor, as a goal worthy of their own intrinsic interest. OF COURSE it is wrong to lose sight of musical enjoyment (that is the yardstick for our experiments, #1, and #2, it is an important element of the positive-reward cycle that keeps our enthusiasm up for these efforts.)

I have been forced reluctantly to admit to myself that part of the reason I engage in DIY audio is a delight in pursuing technical challenges for their own sake. It is not the only one, but it is part of the whole appeal for me.

I guess I am confessing to having some of the spirit of the inventor or engineer as well as the music lover. There is some pride and satisfaction to doing something new or something old in a new way, apart from whether it works especially well.

Of course, if you are lucky, following your curiosity and intuition leads you towards better sound too, but it isn't always the case.

I like the example set by Mick Moloney of Supratec, who has built dozens of phono stages and has been very free with his reports about what he liked and what he didn't. By doing this, he has given us all a big bunch of information to work with and also inspired further experimentation.

Vinylsavor, it's good to hear you on this subject, you know a lot about it!

-j
 
Thanks for all the replies!

Hello Bernhard, Thomas, J. Epstein

No need to apologize for opinions held! I have just been off the air the last couple of days. I understand the "keep it simple --" philosophy, I should have clarified my project as more oriented to searching out new design territory rather than a straight-forward building an amplifier project. The need to "get it right" the first or second try is not a concern. I expect to try out a number of variations, fully expecting some to not work so well. Thats what learning is all about! The chassis I have prepared has a surplus of holes punched in it for extra tube sockets so that it is more of a test bed design. I originally conjured up the "Elliptron" idea specifically so as to get outside of the usuall limits of tube amplifier designs, of course that includes the freedom to stumble and fall a few times, but I think there is considerable potential for some good designs here too. The distributed loading idea has been well proven in the past by such designs as Leak, Bogen, McIntosh, Electro-Voice, Audio Research, Fisher, Hiraga, Michaelson Austin, Luxman .... I just wanted to point out, in my original post, that these type of designs are not so inaccessible as most assume, since a common ultra-linear transformer can be used, although with the small headache of a dual floating power supply requirement. I believe this type of tube design has not been explored much by DIYers because of the large stumbling block of a custom transformer and the lack of familiarity. Without some confidence in a successful outcome, no one wants to do a risky, expensive, custom transformer design. Maybe the Elliptron will serve to break down some of these barriers if some good DIY designs result. The design is well suited to the use of inexpensive TV horizontal output tubes as well. I strongly urge anyone interested, to give this approach a try too. I am not trying to keep it to myself. Maybe a new tube cult-tribe-mafia will develop even!

Best regards,
Don